Community and personal service workers twice as likely to have on-the-job injuries
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its Work-related Injuries Report for the 2021–22 financial year.
- The injury rate for community and personal service workers was twice as high as the national average.
- The most common cause of injury across all classes was ‘lifting, pushing, pulling or bending’, common actions in disability support.
- Among the workplace safety and risk mitigation resources on the NDS website is a module on manual handling for disability support workers.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its Work-related Injuries Report for the 2021–22 financial year. This report shows that 497,300 workers (or 3.5 per cent) had a work-related injury or illness.
All injuries in every workplace should concern us; however, NDS is particularly concerned to see that the highest rates of work-related injuries came from community and personal service workers. Seven per cent of people in this class, which includes disability support workers, had work-related injuries. In the 2017–18 report the rate was 6.1 per cent of workers in these occupations.
Across all work roles, the ABS found the most common cause of injuries were “lifting, pushing, pulling or bending” (24 per cent). These are, of course, are common actions in disability support, particularly in high-care support.
Other prevalent causes of injuries were:
- slip, trip, stumble or fall (17.3 per cent)
- hitting or being hit by an object (11.4 per cent)
- stress or exposure to mental stress (5.0 per cent).
Although less frequent, stress or other mental health conditions led to the longest absences from work, an average of 44 days off.
From discussions with our members, we know the data reflects the causes of injury in our sector. NDS is committed to supporting members and their workforce in reducing the risk of injury in the workplace. We have developed a suite of online resources that will help you reduce workplace injuries and make work safer for your workers and participants.
With manual handling injuries so prevalent, members might begin with our e-learning module on Manual Handling for Disability Support Workers.
NDS has also developed an extensive resource hub for Addressing Occupational Violence, which includes guides for good practice, links to toolkits and resources to identify and mitigate risks.
In partnership with our members, the Zero Tolerance suite of resources has been built around a national evidence-based framework to assist disability service providers understand, implement and improve practices to safeguard the rights of people they support.
NDS in Victoria is currently running a three-part Community of Practice on Addressing Occupational Violence: Safe Systems of Work. It explores work systems that minimise risks of occupational violence.
Other resources for reducing occupational risks and creating a safe workplace include:
- Human Rights and You eLearning Program
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hub, which includes our COVID-19 Toolkit risk management resource for providers
- National Disability Services and Health Education Collaborative – Maintaining safe and effective infection control in disability settings
For any enquiries, please contact Matthew Zammit, Head of Workforce, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number